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“I hate school.”

“Grades are stupid.”

“I’m not going to pass anyway. Why should I even try?”

“Who cares what my grades are once I graduate?”

Whose image popped into your head after reading those words? 

Your child? A loved one? You?

Unfortunately, for a growing number of students, the current educational process leads to discouragement, stress, low self-esteem, and hopelessness. 

What if that didn’t have to be the case? What if there was an approach to combat student disengagement that would result in a high school graduation rate of 95%?

GPS Education Partners’ work-based learning model offers the answer. 

Read to the end to hear personal stories of transformation from our graduates.

Transactional vs. Relational Teaching 

Traditional education has long relied on a transactional approach to teaching. 

Transactional teaching is teacher-focused, relies primarily on direct instruction, and students tend to take a more passive role in the classroom. Assessment and feedback is given by way of letter grades or percentages. 

Work-based learning utilizes a relational approach to teaching. Relational teaching is an educational philosophy that emphasizes building strong, positive relationships between teachers, mentors, and students. It goes beyond traditional instructional methods and focuses on nurturing emotional connections and fostering a supportive learning environment to breed success.

Benefits of Relational Teaching for Disengaged Students

  1. Improved Engagement: Students become active participants rather than passive recipients of information, leading to increased effort.
  2. Increased Emotional Well-being: A relational approach helps create a safe and supportive learning environment, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. 
  3. Increased Self-Efficacy: Positive teacher-student relationships contribute to the development of students’ self-confidence and self-efficacy. When students feel supported and respected, they are more likely to believe in their abilities and take ownership of their learning journey.
  4. Long-lasting Impact: Positive connections with teachers and mentors can shape students’ attitudes toward learning and influence their future educational pursuits and career choices.

Work-Based Learning IS Relational 

GPS Ed’s Work-based learning (WBL) model integrates real-world work experiences and career exploration into the traditional high school curriculum. It provides students with immersive opportunities to connect classroom learning with practical applications in the workplace, all while earning a paycheck and valuable life skills. 

  1. Relevance and Purpose: When students understand how their classroom knowledge is directly applicable to future careers, they become more engaged and motivated to succeed.
  2. Career Exploration: High school students often have limited exposure to various career options. Through work-based learning, they get the opportunity to explore different industries and professions; helping them make more informed decisions about their future career paths.
  3. Building Confidence and Self-Efficacy: Successfully completing work-based learning tasks and projects in a real-world environment boosts students’ confidence and self-efficacy.
  4. Mentorship and Support: Work-based learning involves interactions with mentors and industry professionals who guide and support students, leading to increased investment in their education and career goals.
  5. Social Capital: Work-based learning exposes students to professional networks and potential future employers; opening up opportunities for internships, scholarships, and job placements after graduation.

Work-based learning has the power to transform high school education for disengaged students; creating a more dynamic and relevant learning environment that inspires and empowers them to become active participants in their education and future careers. Click here to listen to our students’ stories of transformation. Visit our Interested Students page for enrollment information and further resources.

Written By


Heather Culli
Special Projects Coordinator
hculli@gpsed.org
GPS Education Partners

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